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got signatures, but it was not an official state document, and so, you know, his spokesman says there's no doubt trump was born anywhere but new york, but he's created a pretty valid question here, you know, and now people are looking into it, and it's kind of funny. >> it is kind of funny, and that's why we put it in "political pop." very pope, as we say. joe johns, thank you so much. that does it for me. i'm brooke baldwin in atlanta and time to turn it over to my colleague, wolf blitzer in washington. wolf? >> happening now, breaking news, new fighting and dramatic losses for libyan rebels against moammar gadhafi's forces. signs that the reblt may be helped in different ways. we have the details. in japan, the best weapon against preventing a bigger nuclear meltdown is also a source of radiation contamination. we're taking a closer look at the dangerous dilemma there and the lessons for nuclear power plants right here in the united states. and will the u.s. supreme
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court green light a massive discrimination lawsuit against walmart? arguments today in one of the most important workers' rights cases the court has ever heard. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." moammar gadhafi and his troops are being accused of new carnage and destruction. just hours after president obama tried to explain the u.s. mission in libya to the american people. this hour we have breaking news. we're learning about major, major setbacks for rebel forces in several cities. in misrata, witnesses say government forces are hammering the city hard, firing bullets over civilians' heads and telling them to run for their lives. gadhafi is fighting back with a vengeance against rebels who had regained ground in recent days under the cover of coalition air strikes. and joining us now in ajdabiya is our own arwa damon. you're with the rebels there.
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how are they doing, arwa? what's the latest? >> reporter: well, wolf, it's been another bitterly disappointing day for the opposition here. they have lost even more ground to gadhafi's military. we caught up with them in an area called bin jawad, the last point that they had managed to advance to yesterday, and they were coming under heavy artillery tank and rocket fire. they were then forced to retreat from this area, losing not only bin jawad but the entire road in between bin jawad and the critical oil town of ras lanuf. and there in ras lanuf on the western outskirts we saw plumes of smoke rising. we heard explosions. we saw the opposition trying to fire back with artillery with multiple rocket-barreled launchers, and we saw units, reinforcements coming in time to protect the time because they are determined not to lose it at
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all. a bitter disappointment to the opposition that was hoping to continue with the same momentum all the way to gadhafi's hometown of sirte, all the way to tripoli, but what we have been seeing over the last two days is as the opposition tries to penetrate further west, nearing towards sirte, entering the tribal land filled with gadhafi loyalists, they are coming up against not just gadhafi's military, wolf, but residents armed by gadhafi, they say, who are also firing at them, and this is a completely different dynamic to this battlefield, and it does have a very ominous substance to it, especially as we look to the future. >> is there evidence that the nato allies and others, the arab countries who are helping, are giving them the air support, the rebels that they would need in a place like ajdabiya? >> reporter: well, initially when we saw those air strikes taking place in ajdabiya, they most definitely cleared the way for the opposition to be able to
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retake control of this city. we saw on both entrances lines of gadhafi's tanks turned. their turrets had been ripped off and their armor melted to the ground. basically the opposition has been able to push gadhafi's military back because of that air support, but over the last two days we've seen gadhafi's military regrouping, reattacking and turning this into something of a street-to-street bat. yesterday they came across us when they entered one small area that surrounds 60 miles to the east of gadhafi's hometown of sirte. their residents fired on them. they were forced to flee. they say today in bin jawad, not only artillery and tank fire, also a street-to-street battle. this is not something that the opposition is trained for. this is not a military force. they lack equipment. they lack weaponry. they lack the military basics of being able to conduct thorough
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house-to-house searches and street-to-street combat because they lack cores of discipline and lack strict command and control so this places an entire new set of challenges. wolf, the opposition had expected to a certain degree that civilian populations, as they pushed westward, would rise up against gadhafi, and as of now we have not seen that just yet, and we're seeing them slowly over the last 48 hours being driven back. >> this war clearly continuing, a brutal war very much so. arwa, thanks very much. be careful there. arwa damon reporting from ajdabiya. joining us now from tripoli our own nic robertson. nic, something unusual today. tell me how unusual it was, a daytime bombing in tripoli where you are. what happened? >> reporter: well, it's the first time we've heard it, wolf. late afternoon three heavy explosions within about a minute of each other. the last one a very heavy explosion. it sounded like a large bomb at
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the very, very least. more of the many missiles and bombs that we've heard so far and we heard coalition aircraft flying overhead low enough for us to hear well and clearly. they flew over for a little while. moved off and came back again. that was about 20 minutes before the bombs fell, and we haven't heard that before during daylight hours, and it does seem to indication the coalition feels confident flying over this city, even though we've seen anti-aircraft gun defenses, camouflage at the side of the road, surface-to-air missiles hidden under trees. perhaps gadhafi's forces choosing not to use those weapons at the moment, wolf. >> nic, on another issue that's caused a huge stir around the world, a woman who says she was raped by gadhafi's supporters, gadhafi's forces. what's the latest? has she been released? do we know where she is? >> reporter: we don't know where she is. the government says she's been
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released. reza sayah interviewed her mother in the east of the country tobruk, and her move said she last talked to her daughter imam, the laid who came into the hotel here and was bundled out by government officials, last talked to her on sunday, and no one has been in touch with her yet, and the best that we can understand is she was released by the government into her sister's custody, into her sister's house here in tripoli. she's being held under house arrest, but it appears all lines of communication have been cut off. we don't know this for sure, and we certainly, journalists, haven't been able to get to her, to see her, talk to her, to find out how she is and exactly what's happening to her. there's a big question mark, wolf, over her whereabouts and very importantly her well-being as well. >> we'll continue to follow her fate. nic, thanks very much, and we'll be speaking with reza sayah back from interviewing this woman's mother. his report coming up later right here in "the situation room." a week and a half into coalition air strikes the u.s. and it allies say there are no
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plans to arm libyan rebels, quote, at this time. president obama defended the limits on the military mission in libya during his pivotal speech last night. >> if we try to overthrow gadhafi by force, our coalition would splinter. we would likely have to put u.s. troops on the ground to accomplish that mission, or risk killing many civilians from the air. the dangers faced by our men and women in uniform would be far greater. so would the costs and our share of the responsibility for what comes next. >> speaking of costs, let's bring in our pentagon correspondent chris lawrence. chris, we're learning more about the costs of this war and the evolving strategy. what are we picking up? >> reporter: well, wolf, things are changing. bottom line, more attacks on gadhafi forces, but less cost to the american taxpayers.
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u.s. officials say they are not in libya to help rebels win a war. >> it's not part of our mandate. >> reporter: but the coalition is launching missiles at specific units, like the headquarters of libya's elite 32nd beguide. >> this is one of gadhafi's most loyal units. >> reporter: coalition has interpreted protect civilians mean it can destroy any weapons gadhafi could use. in the last 24 hours, air strikes hit munition depots in two cities. >> any place that we can see ammunition storage facilities, things of that nature that we're going after those. >> reporter: a mission that's starting with preventing attacks from the air is now focused not even two weeks later on destroying targets on the ground. new flying gunships like the a-10 have replaced some of the ships that were firing cruise missiles. these new aircraft flying low, closer to a target and can shoot machine gunfire instead of dropping 1,000-pournd bombs. they are designed to fight in and around cities where rebels
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are trying to hold off gadhafi forces and on tuesday the nato commander that protecting civilians mandate extends all the way into tripoli itself. >> i think that any gadhafi forces that are demonstrating hostile intent against the libyan population are legitimate targets. >> reporter: so far the assault has cost the pentagon well over half a billion dollars, but most of that money came from cruise missiles and other munitions. the strategy has shifted and now the u.s. forces are focused on refueling planes, jamming communication and striking gadhafi forces. so the military only expects to spend $40 million over the next few weeks and a spokeswoman says after that we would incur added costs of about 40 million per month. how many months? hard to tell. >> but a stalemate is not an acceptable solution. >> i think a stalemate is not in anybody's interest. >> reporter: the nato commander told congress that he's seen flickers of terrorist elements
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within the opposition, but nothing significant. senator john mccain says today that, you know, these rebels are not rising up under some al qaeda banner, and he wants them armed with weapons, intelligence and training to help them get the upper hand. >> $40 million, sounds to me at least wildly optimistic. we'll see if that number holds up. i suspect it won't, but that's another story. chris, let's talk a little bit about if, and this is a huge if, if gadhafi's forces were to stop fighting, and i say that's a huge if right now, what would the coalition do? >> basically, wolf, first they would verify what's going on and assess the situation on the ground. then there would be sort of a series of decisions that would go up the chain of command to admiral stavritos and eventually the united nations itself and while this so-called assessment phase would be going on, there would be a pause in all of the
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nato activity. >> the admiral is the nato supreme allied commander. thanks very much, chris, for that. are we seeing a new level of warfare in libya? i'll ask general wesley clark, the retired nato supreme commander and what the u.s. nuclear industry is learning from the crisis in japan.
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important news, including in japan. every day seems to bring a disturbing new discovery in japan's nuclear crisis. officials are going farther in acknowledging just how serious the situation is and how much radiation is actually being leaked. lisa sylvester is here and is working the story for us. lots of concern, lisa. >> with good reason. japan's chief cabinet secretary say they believe there has been a partial meltdown at three of the six reactors at the fukushima daiichi plant. the number two unit's containment vessel may be damaged and water leaking, and now reports that contaminated water has been discovered in a tunnel leading to reactor two's turbine building. for the first time highly radioactive water has been found in a maintenance tunnel outside reactor two at the fukushima daiichi plant. the tunnel, which runs under and behind the turbine, is only 180 feet from the ocean. japanese officials are trying to barricade the water in the
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damaged tunnel to keep it from flowing further. >> translator: the door is already damaged so we used sandbags as well as concrete panels built around the opening to prevent the possible overflow of contaminated waters. >> reporter: water has been pumped in to cool down the reactors and prevent a full nuclear meltdown at the plant, but now the highly contaminated water itself is posing unique problems, namely how to contain and dispose of it, but it's not an option to simply stop pumping water into the reactor, says a member of the institute of energy and environmental research. >> some people would say this is a catch-22 because you need the water to cool things down. >> yes. >> but at the same time now you have a new problem, contaminated water. >> well, this is the problem with this type of reactor, and if you don't keep the fuel cool, then it will melt down, and you will have worse releases of
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radioactivity, and you'll have a breach of the reactor vessel, melt through the reactor vessel. at a certain point it will melt through the concrete >> reporter: plant is running out of room to store the contaminated water, raising the radiation hazard. the potential risk is that it could seep into the ocean and the soil affecting the food supply. >> it will depend on the currents, the tides, the patterns of deposition. this isn't a pipe carrying radioactivity out. this is deposition on the surface so a lot will depend on the dynamics of whether that pollution will go out, mainly to sea or whether some of it will contaminate the shores. this problem is going to go on for a long time. >> reporter: so that, the contaminated water found in that tunnel is 330 times higher than the dose of radiation an average person should be exposed to in a year, and that little bit of exposure could increase the chances of developing cancer by 0%, that according to the international atomic energy
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agency, wolf. >> that's not good. thanks, lisa. thanks very much. now to the fears about a nuclear crisis on the scale of the one in japan. let's bring in our homeland security correspondent jeanne meserve. nuclear experts here are obviously studying the japanese situation very closely, and they are asking lots of questions. >> reporter: and the principal one, wolf, are there lessons for the u.s. nuclear plants in the disaster at fukushima? government officials say they are still studying the issues, but even the nuclear industry says some changes are needed. it was the loss of electricity that started the cascade of catastrophes at fukushima. eight hours of emergency battery power simply wasn't enough to keep critical cooling systems operating. but in the u.s. nine out of ten nuclear plants have only four hours of battery capacity, half as much as fukushima, an obsolesce son, one says, is plant operators need systems to handle longer blackouts.
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>> so they are not left without any options other than a miracle. miracles are great, but you can't rely on them. >> reporter: the nuclear industry says it is looking at staging equipment regionally and other options to keep cooling systems powered up. as fukushima, spent fuel pools have been the source of some of the radiation. rat u.s. plants, spent fuel pools are cooled by fewer and less reliable systems and housed in more vulnerable structures than reactors are. the industry agrees that it's something that needs another look. >> we will get these lessons learned and we've start that had already. >> reporter: but if something does go terribly wrong at a plant like new york's indian point, could the millions of people who live in the immediate vicinity be evacuated? are the emergency plans of industry and government adequate? >> i think our plans are as good as those in japan on march 10. >> i don't know what that means. >> it means that we would be
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equally in dire straits if we were ever faced with that kind of disaster. good plans on paper, but if you put them to practice i think it will show we'll come up short. >> for that reason congressman ed markey made another pitch today for the government to distribute potassium iodine pills which counter some of the effects of radiation to people who live within 20 miles of a u.s. nuclear plant. a lawyer requiring the government to do so was passed back in 2002. wolf? >> all right, jeanne, thanks very much for that report. escalating political turmoil in syria right now. it's taking a dramatic toll on the government in damascus. we have the details coming up. and more than a million women suing walmart for alleged workplace discrimination, but they could be facing an uphill battle in the u.s. supreme court. can
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new signs today that the growing political unrest in syria could be having an effect. lisa siller vester is here and monitoring that and some of the other top stories in "the situation room." what's going on, lisa? >> reporter: well, wolf, syrian president bashar assad accepted the resignation of the government today, this as tens of thousands took to the streets of damascus in a pro-government rally. deadly clashes between protesters and security forces have plagued the country for days. assad is expected to address the syrian people tomorrow.
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and this controversial 9/11 ad is no longer running. you can see it here. it shows a fire fighter holding a picture of ground zero after the world trade center attacks with the headline "i was there." now unbeknownst to the company behind the ad, the model in the stock photo is an actual new york fire fighter but he wasn't there, and although legal, the company altered the picture. originally he was holding a helmet and it says it regrets the unfortunate coincidence. the supreme court is hearing arguments over whether female workers suing walmart for workplace discrimination can proceed in a massive class action lawsuit. they allege the retail giant paid women less and offered fewer opportunities for promotion than their male counterparts. they are now seeking tens of billions of dollars in damages. walmart says it has a long history of promoting women. a ruling is expected in june. wolf? >> more on this story coming up in the next hour as well. thanks very much, lisa. he wrote a scathing letter to president obama demanding
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answers and now for the first time we're hearing from the house speaker john boehner on the president's libyan address and arming rebels. is that the best solution for coalition forces? decisive actio. go to e-trade and get unbiased analyst ratings and 24/7 help from award-winning customer support to take control of your finances and your life. tap into the power of revolutionary mobile apps. to trade wherever. whenever. life isn't fully experienced sitting idly by. neither is investing. e-trade. investing unleashed.
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we're learning of serious new setbacks for libyan rebels on this day. those rebels had seemed to be making significant gains under cover of u.s.-led air strikes. this as nato now takes charge of the coalition mission, and president obama's critics digest his defense of the overall u.s. military intervention. just a little while ago we heard from the house speaker, john boehner. >> some of my questions were answered by the president. i think others were not. the fact that the plan appears to be humanitarian mission to stop the slaughter of innocent people in libya, certainly something i think most of the congress would support, but the second part of this plan is that we hope gadhafi leaves. i just don't think that that is
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a strategy, and when you -- when you listen to all of what's going on and all the words, it really is nothing more than hope, so if gadhafi doesn't leave, how long will nato be there to enforce a no-fly zone? that's a very troubling question. >> a legitimate question, i must say. let's dig deeper with our senior congressional correspondent dana bash. what else are you picking up on the hill, dana, the reaction to the president's speech? >> reporter: the speaker is not alone. a number of law enforcement say they have unanswered questions, everything from how to handle gadhafi, as you heard the speaker talking about, to concerns about the fact that they still believe that this is a costly open-ended mission. president obama's libya speech was intended to calm criticism, especially in congress. did it? >> i give that one an "f." i think he's done more to add to the skepticism of this than he did to calm people down. >> reporter: republican house intelligence chairman mike rogers backed the initial
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military action in libya. now he worries the president lacks a strategy going forward. >> it was very open-ended. it was almost non-committal. it was very frustrating even to me who is working to get information on these issues about how he didn't lay out a plan for what's next. >> and i do not feel that the president has fully thought about the consequences of this military action. >> reporter: senator susan collins doesn't buy the president's pledge that the u.s. will have only a supporting role. >> the americans have flown 65% of the sorties over libya. the arab states have barely participated. >> reporter: not all skeptics are unsatisfied. before the president's speech democrat ben cardin wanted to know. >> how long can we expect to be in this mission? >> and now. >> i think the president said very clearly that the mission is about the safety of the civilians in libya. >> reporter: still he also said many questions remain, and at
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this hearing with the u.s. nato commander senators tried and failed to get answers about an end game. >> do you have an estimation on timetable, how long you think we'll be there? >> sir, i think it's very difficult to ascertain that. >> reporter: they expressed concerns about the cost to american taxpayers. >> what's the cost per tomahawk? >> i want to say 1.5 million. >> that's my understanding as well? >> and how many did we drop? >> 200. >> that's real numbers. here we are wrestling with cutting billions, and we're dropping billions on the other hand. >> in fact, lawmakers in both parties are nervous about the price tag. >> i was disappointed that the department didn't address one of the fundamental concerns most americans have, and that is what is this war going to cost us, and what has it cost us? >> reporter: members of congress will have a chance to press for more answers about that and a host of other concerns that we heard all day today. over the next few days will be key members of the president's team here in congress. they will be giving some private
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classified briefings and be at some public hearings. the senate majority leader, harry reid, said he told his whole caucus today to come loaded with all your questions. wolf? >> dana, thanks very much. good report. let's dig even further with general wesley clark, retired nato supreme allied commander. with nato now in charge, will it automatically be less robust, those coalition air strikes as opposed to when the u.s. was in command? >> no, i don't think it will make any difference, wolf, in the robustness. >> you say that. let me interrupt because you've got turkey and germany and got some nato allies that don't want this to be very robust, and nato has to be responsive to them. >> well, those are policy calls. they will be made through nato, and nato will be responsive, but i suspect that the meeting in europe and the broader political effort will guide nato to be just as robust as the coalition would have been in the days going forward. >> in other words, what we're
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seeing right now is a setback for the rebel. some are already suggesting, you know what, with nato taking charge. gadhafi's troops are emboldened. they are really going after the rebels, and that's idea rebels are being set back in various places on this date. do you see a correlation between nato's taking over and the new setbacks the rebels are facing? >> no, none, but i do see a correlation with the weather, and i understand there was cloud cover in libya today, and that cloud cover increases the risk for the airmen and one of the commanders probably said there's a minimum altitude that we're going to stay above, and we're not going to go below that altitude. that's typical of the way we operate. we stayed above 20,000 feet in dose voerks a kosovo, and when it was cloud covered we weren't as successful spotting targets on the ground. >> we're seeing a-130 gunships and you fly those planes a lot
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lower than the f-16s. >> you can but we didn't in kosovo. it depends on the assessment of the threat and maybe there's places in libya where there's the assessment it's dangerous. they do have man portable systems and vehicle-mounted systems that are dangerous to our a-10s and ac-130s. >> would it make sense for the coalition to start arming the rebels? >> i think we've got to get the politics right before we put weapons in there, wolf, so i think the question, is you know works are the rebels? do they have a government? what do they stand for, and what gives them legitimacy? have they been recognized by many states? does the united states recognize them, and if so, what's their program, and then in the context of that i think there could be a case made, but right now i don't think there's a case based on international law or legitimacy for arming the rebels. it looks like an easy win against gadhafi, and now people
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want to throw chips on the pile and keep raising the stakes. i think, you know, we're a nation of law. we have to proceed step by step. it's not a foot race. gadhafi is not going anywhere except where we want him to. it may take six weeks. it may take six months. if it takes a year, that's okay. gadhafi is going to go, but what do we stand for as the united states and with our allies? don't we stand for the rule of law, and if so, let's proceed step by step on this. it's not about tactical setbacks. it's really about the vision of the new middle east going forward. >> general clark, thanks very much. >> thank you. the so-called obama doctrine is now set. why is the administration not applying it to other countries, let's say like syria? stand by for that and from a revolution to an evolution in egypt. what the muslim brotherhood is now doing in egypt to change its image. ♪
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the president has now laid out what many of us are referring to as the obama doctrine as a result of the situation in libya. let's bring in jail doherty. we asked her to check in this story. >> reporter: wolf, president obama says he would never hesitate to use military force to defend the homeland, u.s. allies or america's core
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interests, but libya is different. out of the fog of war in libya comes the obama doctrine, when and why president barack obama says the u.s. should take military action. >> some nations may be able to turn a blind eye to atrocities in other countries. the united states of america is different. >> reporter: libya was no threat to the u.s., but its leader was a threat to his own people, and that's obama's rule number one. act when interests and values are at stake. and try diplomacy before military force. >> we have been joined by a strong and growing coalition. >> reporter: act with the international community, mr. obama says, and share the risk and the cost. >> the burden of action should not be america's alone. >> reporter: but the obama doctrine is doesn't cut it with some, including conservative analyst james carafano. >> in the case of libya, i think it's a failure.
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>> starts here. >> right. >> because, you know, first of all, the only reason anybody went along with the united states is because we have the hard power to back it up. >> reporter: it did bring international countries together, including the arabs. they have accomplished what they wanted to do in about a week. >> you just described gulf war one. we had a coalition. we had international support. we had arabs on our side. we had a no-fly zone, and the guy was there for years, and then we had to fight a war with him anyway. >> reporter: how do you apply the obama doctrine, on would it work to syria? >> you can't. there's a reason. there's a line there, a line there, a line there. what happens in syria is really in the interest of iran. turkey has a real interest and israel has a real interest and those countries are not going to sit by and allow the international community to determine how it's going to play out. that's going to turn out to be a plain old-fashioned power struggle. >> reporter: on syria the obama administration is using so far
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words not military action. there's a crackdown on demonstrators, but the syrian president has taken some steps towards reform. in yemen, protesters want president saleh to go, but he's helped the u.s. in the fight against al qaeda, and in bahrain, the u.s. is pushing for reform, but not too hard. after all, it's home to the u.s. fifth fleet. wolf? >> certainly s.all right, thanks very much, jill, for that explanation of the obama doctrine as we're calling it. the internet helped fuel the revolution sweeping across north africa in the middle east, and get this, american companies are helping to censor some key cites. what's going on? that story is coming up.
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joining us now for the strategy session, the democratic strategist donna brazile and the republican strategist mary matalin both here in "the situation room." guys, thanks very much. is the president of the united states right when he says non-military force should be used to get rid of gadhafi? >> he's confusing. the public wants to support their commander in chief, but this libyan mission suggests no clarity of mission or consistency of mission. the obama doctrine is no doctrine. it's situational, and that's what's confusing, and you can't -- if your goal is regime change, then you can't take anything off the table which when he says without force then he's taking a big element off the table. >> he says he wants to get rid of gadhafi, but the military
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mission is designed to protect the civilians and enforce the no-fly zone. other non-military action could be used to get rid of gadhafi down the road. >> i think the most successful regime changes have occurred when we've seen the people themselves rise up and to take control of their own destiny. the president has been not only consistent. he has informed the american people every step of the way and in less than 30 days, what we've been able to see is that we stopped gadhafi from massacring his own people. we've been able to impose a no-fly zone. we've frozen the gadhafi family assets, $30 billion, and we've done a lot more behind the scenes to get the libyan rebels up to speed so that they can protect their own turf. >> it is oppressive when you have an international coly, like the first president bush had, going into the first war to liberate kuwait, when you have arab countries, european countries, the whole world basically aligned against the dictator in that particular case, saddam hussein.
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>> why not the dictator in syria? why not the dictator in iran? that's the -- that's the larger issue. >> you would support that then, too? >> would i support and have supported a doctrine that is not situational ethics. >> you want the security force to get rid of bashar assad and ahmadinejad? >> you go in you have to go in to win and need a clear exit strategy. >> but they are not going into syria and iran. they are going into libya? >> what's the difference. you know this region better that be most of these people who are in government today. what is the difference between assad and gadhafi? what is it? syria, we could argue for our interests, we have a greater strategic interest in syria given its geography as jill just pointed out, and its interaction with al qaeda than we do in libya. >> the point being that if bashar assad or ahmadinejad were on the verge of doing what gadhafi was on the verge of doing in benghazi, slaughtering tens of thousands of people, would the u.s., would the obama
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doctrine kick in then? >> wolf, i mean, every situation is different. every situation is unique, and if we saw the -- those leaders use their tanks to go up against their people to slaughter them, then i think the obama doctrine would apply to making sure that we had adequate multi-national support, especially with the arab league. look, we're in iraq. afghanistan. we've been bombing yemen. we've been using drone attacks in pakistan. we have to make sure that whatever we do we support the people of those countries and not just try to take out people we disagree with or people who are bad actors >> i thought there was at least implicit criticism on this note when the president said the united states does not sit on the sideline, i'm paraphrasing and let people get sexual assaultered. during the clinton administration and bill clinton himself acknowledges, the u.s. sat on the sidelines and hundreds of thousands of people were slaughtered in rwanda, even though he knew in the oval office what was going on.
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so when the president -- this president said that, the implicit criticism is never again will an american president just be signature on his hands while people are being slaughtered. >> 700,000 people were at risk. >> but they are being slaughtered in iran as we speak and syria as we speak and bahrain as we speak. what triggers it, the number being slaughtered? we value each individual life. no clarity or consistency. >> we've got to be careful not to make this a war on islam and taking out people we dislike in the region. >> hold your thought because we'll continue this conversation. >> we're ready to come back. >> thank you. in egypt a major public relations campaign going on right now. the muslim brotherhood trying to change its image. how the group hopes to pull it off. and gadhafi's possible exit strategy. we have some new information on where potentially he could end up. [ male announcer ] escape convention.
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egypt is moving the forward with elections. the ruling military council says voters will choose members of parliament in september. but the vote for president will come after that. this amid deep concerns about the role of the muslim brotherhood in egypt. cnn's ivan watson has more. >> reporter: egypt's islamist
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politicians have a media problem. this is how they've been depicted. as fanatics armed with bomb belts and guns, waging war against the government. now that hosni mubarak is gone, some activists are trying to fix this. they invited the journalists to this conference organized by the youths of the muslim brotherhood. >> i'm so excited. it's the first time for us to have an announced conference for the muslim brotherhood at all. >> ever? >> yeah, ever. >> reporter: members now openly debating the future of their movement. >> it must be presenting the youth votes, their own goals, women goals. >> reporter: and there are disagreements. this activist says younger members want a bigger sha in the leadership of the movement. which he says was absent in the
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revolution in tahrir square. >> we were leading in tahrir square. our leaders are in the offices and only hear what happens on the square. >> despite some division, analysts say the muslim brotherhood won big when 18 million egyptians voted in a historic refer dumb on constitutional reform on march 19th. by a large margin, voters approved a fast track provision of the constitution, that favors established groups like the brotherhood over more secular groups struggling to get organized. some called it a victory for islam. those who don't like it can leave egypt with their american and canadian visas. a thousand good-byes. senior brotherhood leaders have
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denounced such statements. >> translator: radical groups that may juz violence have surfaced after the revolution. this distorts the image ofs laum. >> but the referendum taught them a valuable lesson. >> could you win an election tomorrow? >> for us? no. for the next parliament elections, we are sure that we are not be able to be ready. >> reporter: the muslim brotherhood has been part of egyptian life since 1928 and is battle heartened by decades of repression. pro-democracy activists are struggling to maintain the momentum of tahrir square. they could barely get a thousand demonstrators to this recent protest. with six months before parliamentary elections, egypt's secular groups have a lot of catching up to do. >> now, wolf, i can't stress
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enough how much egypt, the arab world's most populous country is in unchartered territory right now. the political landscape rapidly shifting. and even the muslim brotherhood, which is such a disciplined movement. it has yet to register a political party yet officially with the interim government. and there's an awful lot of speculation that some of the divisions within, between the elders and the youth, for example, could lead to splinter parties coming off of that movement. that's something we'll have to watch very closely in the weeks and months ahead. >> egypt very much a work in progress. ivan, thanks very much. ivan in cairo. egypt and other middle eastern uprisings started on social media sites. now we're learning some of the governments tried cracking down on the internet with the help of american companies. standby for that report. [ male announcer ] the network.
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there are indications american companies may help sensor the growing cries for democracy sweeping north africa and the middle east. mary snow explains. >> wolf, when you think of software filters, one common one is software a parent may use to filter out pornography websites on their home computer disk. that kind of filtering technology according to a new report is being used by governments in the middle east and north africa to sensor political and social media sites, and some of the technology is made by american companies. social media sites have fanned
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the flames of revolution in countries like egypt as governments crack down on censoring the internet. now this is helping the regimes in some countries in the middle east and north africa to limit online access. julian york worked with researchers at harvard and the university of toronto who found nine state sensors using the technology. >> it makes it easier to block content in social media sites. we have seen an increase in filtering over the past few months. >> among the findings, internet service providers for yemen, cutter and the united arab emirates used filters. a spokesman said the company isn't commenting at this time. yemen was using technology made by san diego based webs sense august but it's since been disabled. despite the company's policy against government-imposed censorship. the company told us its policy is strict and that websense has
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disabled the product where we learned of customer use that is contrary to our policy. the report also finds that countries like bahrain and saudi arabia are using smart sfilter made by mcaphee. the company cannot disclose customer names. the u.s. government is paying some nonprofits to evade ensors. nonprofits like the tor project. >> my website i'm looking at looks like it comes for the netherlands. i'm sitting here in america. >> andrew leads researchers whose mission is to remain anonymous online, using translators, he says, they've trained activists in the middle east and north africa. >> we have shown people how to use our software and to think more about what they're doing when they go online. >> but the author of the net solution, the dark side of internet freedom said the state department's effort to combat censorship is only being undermined by american companies providing technologies to
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authoritarian states. >> i think it's that tragedy. it has to be resolved. more pressure need to be exerted by the state department. >> the state department spent $20 million so far in the internet freedom programming in the middle east. it plans on spending another $30 million wolf? >> mary snow, thanks very much. to our viewers, you're in "the situation room." happening now, breaking news. despite allied air strikes, libyan rebels face a stunning reversal of fortunes. we'll take you to a panicked retreat in the east as gadhafi forces pulverize a city in the west. and you shock the case of an alleged rape victim dragged away by libyan security. now her mother tells cnn if she had the chance she would slap muammoammar gadhafi. and working on an exit plan for gadhafi. the allies try to find a way to get libya's leader to leave.
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breaking news, political headlines and jeanne moos all straight ahead. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." libya's rebel forces have suffered stunning new setbacks, emboldened by allied air strikes, they pushed forward from the eastern libyan strongholds, but they've now been forced to retreat, driven back by the heavy weapons of moammar gadhafi's army. in the west witnesses report what they describe as carnage in the city of misrata as gadhafi forces pound opposition holdouts. we begin with cnn's arwa damon reporting from the front lines of the fight in eastern libya. >> reporter: opposition fighters are sequestered, trying to regroup in ras lanuf. we are seeing discharge plumes of smoke rising. this is a very significant loss for the opposition.
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just a short while ago we were on the outskirts where we heard sounds of explosions, saw smoke rising, and then saw the opposition beat a hasty and panicked -- they say at 8:00 in the morning, they began to come over heavy artillery, tank and rocket fire. they also say that there were snipers in the city. gadhafi loyalists who were firing on them as well. aun able to withstand the barrage, they were forced to retreat all the way back to the oil town of ras lanuf it would seem. they are strupg ling instead of standing up to the military because they lack weapons equipment. but more importantly, they lack training. they lack a cohesive military strategy. the basics of command and control and critical discipline needed to take on this kind of a fight. up until now it was fairly easy going for the opposition fighters. they were moving through a territory where the population supported the opposition or was
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even part of the opposition itself. in the last 24 hours as we saw them pushing into the areas loyal to gadhafi, they've come across residents armed and firing at them, now it would seem gadhafi's military as well. regrouping, intent on not just protecting gadhafi's hometown of sirte and the capitol of tripoli, but also intent on regaining all the ground that it has lost. arwa damon, cnn, ras lanuf, libya. >> rebel forces are being battered in misrata. witnesses paint a grim picture of the force there is with gadhafi's forces pounding away with heavy weapons. joining us once again from tripoli, our own nic robertson. nic, there were reports of what was described as carnage in misrata today. as a blood bath supposedly was developing. what do we know about this?
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>> reporter: we also heard the rebels inside the city were calling for the aircraft to come in their support. we were in misrata yesterday. government officials wouldn't let us get into the part of the city where the rebels were. we could see evidence of gadhafi hiding his heavy weapons, tanks, hiding him from the aircraft. we awe tanks hiding under trees. military vehicles hiding into stores. parked literally driven into stores with the soldiers in there. others hiding much as they could outside the coalition aircraft. a lot of destruction in the city. so this supports what the opposition is telling us is happening today. we're not there. we can't independently verify it. gadhafi's forces are were arranged in the city in such a way to make kind of on slot a very real possibility when we saw the dpe bree that indicated
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things like that had been going on plenty there over the past few weeks, wolf. >> a real fight going on in misra misrata. moammar gadhafi, what do we know about his whereabouts? there have been reports he sleeps at different places every night, he's on the run, that he's got a small group of close allies surrounding him. what do we know about him? >> very little. we know he appeared at the palace compound a few days ago. that's the last sighting. his son who heads a military brigade there also appeared there recently. right when the air campaign began, we were told the whole family was together. the sons, the father, the daughters were together. there's every indication they are still together. we've had few communications with them since the air campaign began. is he sleeping in different places? different nights? every possibility he is. will it be with trusted loyalists?
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he certainly has a number of choose from in the city. is he leaving the city of tripoli? that's not clear. that would be a risk for him. if he felt anyone was passing up information, as soon as he got in the open, he would be at the risk of attack. but it's an unknown question. he must be feeling the heat, must be feeling the pressure because the coalition, as we saw today, landing heavy bombs on the city during daylight hours. and they were landing within the earshot of us here. certainly in the earshot of his palace, wolf. >> nic robertson, thanks very much from tripoli. nic certainly witnessed massive destruction on the outskirts of misrata. that battle has raged for weeks now. the only images for deep in the city are from amateur photographers. cnn can't confirm the authenticity of the pictures. here's cnn's tom foreman. >> wolf, we want to take a closer look at the intelligence coming out of misrata, the third
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largest city in all of libya. an important battle zone in the western part of the country near tripoli. here, look at what's happened tw the strikes for the air. this is an airfield near there. we know gadhafi started with more than a dozen airfields. more than 300 aircraft. here you see strikes on some smaller aircraft along here. important to look further down the field. down to this area are much bigger fighter jets. this area has been hit much, much harder. there's much as and as you look at the images, which is what the latest intelligence is doing from the field that you can see evidence ov what ma may be happening out there. look at this major intersection. there appear to be signs of the road cut in some fashion. whether done by gadhafi's forces to slow down the rebels or by the international coalition
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trying to stop his movement, it's hard to say. more likely the latter simply because these would be critical to moving all the heavy armorments he needs to move around where as the smaller type of vehicles being used by the rebels, which you can see in some cases apparently masked alongside these further small roads here, they could probably go around some of these basic failures of the roads where as larger armor may have a harder time doing that. misrata, a very important battlefield now being watched very closely along the coast there. another area being watched closely. i want to show you a couple pictures worth looking at. signs of destruction from the air. we don't know what this was. clearly a heavy bombing going on in here. and the same in this one. you can see on a rae here. signs of heavy bombing. possibly a convoy hit here. another strike up here. hour by hour, military leaders in the field are getting images
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like this, only a lot better to keep track of the movements on the ground of gadhafi's troops and the rebel forces and the effectiveness of their rebel targeting. gl the setbacks for the rebels come just hours after president obama spoke to the american people about the libyan mission. just a while ago the president once again spoke out. this time at the dedication of a new building at the u.s. mission to the united nations. listen to this. >> today we see the nato alliance in command of the arms embargo, the no-fly zone, starting tomorrow, the mission to protect the libyan people. we see the united nations and many international organizations providing the assistance that's needed to people who have been harmed by gadhafi over the last several weeks. today in london we're seeing more than 30 nations, and the libyan opposition come together
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to support a transition to a future that better serves the libyan people. that's how the international community should work. more nations. the united states at the ent center of it but not alone. >> the president speaking in new york a while ago. pa woman rushing into a tripoli hotel accusining gadhafi's men raping her. now her mother is speaking to cnn. standby for that report. and is moammar gadhafi looking for a way out? the possible exit strategy is coming up next. and new information on the actual cost of the operations. [ woman ] when you want a bank that travels with you. with you when you're ready for the next move. [ male announcer ] now that wells fargo and wachovia have come together, what's in it for you? unprecedented strength, the stability of the leading community bank in the nation
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so just how much is libyan operation costing u.s. taxpayers? the pentagon says it's running at $550 million so far. another $40 million is likely to be spent, the pentagon insists, over the next three weeks as u.s. forces are reduced. after that the pentagon says they expect the price tag of about $40 million per month. more on this part of the story coming up. the allies, meanwhile, are enforcing the u.n. resolution on libya. they have left no doubt that
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gadhafi cannot continue as libya's leader. and there are efforts under way to find a way for him to leave the country. brian todd is here. he's been looking into this part of the story. >> at this point in time the only option that won't end violent would be for moammar gadhafi to leave willingly. we have word that leaders could be puch pushing hard for that behind the scenes. the administration says this military action is not aimed at overthrowing moammar gadhafi, but it's open to ideas to see the leader in exile. they talk about a u.n. envoy's upcoming mission to libya to work ideas for ending the fighting. >> and to look for a political resolution which could include his leaving the country. >> in an interview with cnn, italy's foreign minister takes the idea further, indicating his government is making efforts to offer him a way into exile.
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so far we didn't get a formal proposal or former officer. maybe if we will be finding states that are available to debt with the help of african union may be. >> franco says the african union has taken charge of finding a solution to gadhafi's fate. our efforts to get comments were unsuccessful. italy had a close long standing relationship with libya until the operation began. italy since cut off all political relationships with gadhafi' regime. other dictators who fled under political pressure led to comfortable exiles. ali found refuge in haiti.
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but in gadhafi's case it's more complicated. the international criminal court is investigating him for crimes against humanity. his prosecutor says he's 100% certain he'll bring charges against gadhafi and his inner circle. a former ambassador to the uae served when gadhafi came to power and has met with him a few times in recent years. >> realistically would gadhafi take a deal? >> i am pretty certain based upon my personal reading of gadhafi that this is the last thing in the world he wants. he said he would not ever leave libya. he'll fight to the last bullet. i take him at his word. i think martyrdom is an attractive alternative to moammar gadhafi. >> but gadhafi could be prevailed upon by his family and others close to him to take a deal. or maybe he'll arrange for them
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to get out of libya. they're never going to agree to let him go into exile. i know you have perspectives on the cost. $40 million by the u.s. alone over the next three weeks. $40 million a month after that. what's your perspective? >> i think that's wildly optimistic. so far the pentagon testified the commander of nato forces, the supreme allied commander said so far it's cost $600 million. he said 200 tomahawk cruise missiles were launched. they will have to be replaced at 1.5 million each. that's $300 million right there. so i guess when they come up with this number over the next three weeks, it's only going to cost american taxpayers $40 million. that will pay for the gas and some flights and stuff. if they're going continue, those
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will be very expensive. it may be accurate. but the track record over the years, and i go back as a former pentagon correspondent, it's way, way underestimated. i suspect if the military operation even under nato command continues for weeks and months it will be in the money hundreds of millions of dollars or not more. >> and there's no way to scale back the operations the as much. >> right now it looks like the setbacks the rebels are facing, dramatic setbacks. if anything they're going to have to step up the attacks on gadhafi's forces to end this thing sooner rather than later. if you get into a war, you have to finish it so it doesn't go on and on. just my little assessment of what's going on. saudi arabia issued a new solution for shutting down anti-government protests. we'll have details. and a hole found in a lodge.
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lisa is back. she's monitoring other top stories. including a move by saudi arabia, the clamp down on speech. what's going on? >> the saudi press agency says the kingdom is printing 1.5 million copies of a religious edict that would ban protests calling them unislamic. saudi arabia's notorious for refusing to tolerate any form of public dissent. they call to have a united front under the kingdom's wise and legitimate leadership. trying to build bridges with an
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adversary. jimmy carter spent his second day in cuba. he's expected to meet with castro before heading home. and there is speculation carter will use the visit to win the freedom of a u.s. contractor recently sentenced to 15 years in prison for trying to connect people to the internet. and the fbi and u.s. airways are trying to find out who shot an airplane in charlotte, north carolina. the mystery began when a pilot found a bullet hole while inspecting the plane. sources tell cnn that investigators later found the bullet in the cabin. agents think it pierced the lodge after passengers got off the plane. right now a cnn source tells us they think it's a random event,that the plane was not targeted. still very serious. a bullet in a commercial plane. thanks. the situation in sooir yria is getting worse. could it turn into another libya? bill richardson is in "the
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situation room" um next. he's also talking about negotiating with gadhafi. a look at a possibly role i have a little say with these bad guys.
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our top story. the libyan rebels suffer sharp reversals on the battlefield. in the east they were drifen back after running up against gadhafi's forces. the tank and artillery very powerful. in the west, misrata being battered by the heavy weapons of gadhafi's troops. all of this hours after the president spoke to the nation about the war. joining us now, bill richardson, the former united states ambassador of the united nations and energy secretary. also the former governor of new mexico. governor, thanks very much for coming in. let's talk about the president's strategy in trying to get rid of gadhafi. john mccain says the best way to do it is to use military force. the president said nonmilitary action is the best way to do it.
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what do you say? >> i believe the president is right. he was very presidential last night. he talked about a limited intervention on the part of the united states. coalition effort by nato. objective to stop. what we're doing is supporting the rebels, getting an international coalition. i think that's the way to go. a straight military get gadhafi strategy to get him out is just very right now very dangerous. the best way is through a steady strategy that will eventually work. >> from 1991 to 2003, the u.s. had no fly zones in southern and northern iraq, all sorts of sanctions, all sorts of political pressure. saddam hussein remained in power for 12 years. you want gadhafi to remain in power for 12 years? >> no, of course not.
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the goal is to get gadhafi out. get a provisional government by the rebels. all the actions are leading to that. here's where the french. here's where the nato forces, the brits, gutter, some of the arab countries like the united arab em rats they are participa participating. they have to take the lead. i think that's developing as the rebels begin military momentum. >> has anyone asked you to talk to gadhafi and say it's over. >> no, no. just you have. i would be pleased to be helpful. but this is a presidential decision. i believe the state department secretary clinton is doing a very good job of handling this issue.
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sometimes i have a say with the bad guys, i would be prepared to do something. i'm getting paid now to give my boring speeches. >> sometimes they're not too boring. let's talk about gadhafi. should he be captured, killed, or should he be allowed to go to exile in some other country and live his life out in peace? >> if there's an option that he go into exile. may maybe zimbabwe will offer him asylum. yeah. that's something that is obviously on the table and should be an option. but this man should be eventually tried for war crimes. this man should eventually account for the killings and the massacres that he's done to his own people. >> should the u.s., the nato allies, others start arming the rebels? >> i think eventually, wolf,
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some of the nato ally ls should consider options like dropping military equipment weapons, air lifting them into nato. possibly training the rebel forces. i think the u.s. has done its bit with the air strikes. we shouldered substantially more than 50% of them. eventually some other way of assisting them militarilily will have to be considered. nato should be prepared to do that. >> what about recognizing the opposition, the rebels, as the legitimate government of libya as france has done? the u.s. has not done that. should the obama administration do that? >> that should be the next diplomatic step. you want to wait ha little bit. see how they can unify. pressure them to be more coherent. eventually giving them the diplomatic recognition. saying we're going to recognize this group of rebels as a
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legitimate entity of libya is important. they're a little scattered. we have to be sure that we don't have a lot of unfavorable elements there. there may be some. the more time we develop to get them ready to take over their country, to be unified. to not be part of the corrupt regime of gadhafi the better off wee will be. >> let's talk about syria for a moment. the son, bashar al-ast sasal-as son. he slaughtered 10,000 syrians. do you think the current younger bashar al-assad would do the same? >> i met him also. my sense is that he's more pragmatic. but some early indications of repression are not good. this man is going to be tested.
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is he going to repress his own people at a time when they want to see more dmongs. they don't want to see the president appoint the prime ministers. they want fair elections. if he represses those people, and i see the indications, he'll end up like mubarak. it's important that he move in a pragmatic democratic way to give his people more democracy. >> you think it's realistic he would move guards democracy given the iron grip they've had on syria? >> well, i think if he wants to survive. i see the same elements in syria that i've seen all over the middle east. he's not going to move toward total democracy all the way. his cabinet resigning is not enough for the people of syria. he has to find ways, i believe, to have a more representative
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democracy. but i have my doubts. he's more pragmatic when it comes to democracy leaning initiatives. he didn't recognize the legitimate aspirations of his own people. >> thank you very much for coming in. >> thank you. >> syrian state tv just reported that will address them tomorrow morning. the speech is expected at 11:00 a.m. local time in damascus. that would be 5:00 a.m. eastern time. the mother of the woman who rushed into a tripoli hotel and accused gadhafi's men of raping her is now speaking to cnn. we'll have a report. that's coming up. [ male announcer ] america's beverage companies are working together to put more information right up front. adding new calorie labels to every single can, bottle and pack they produce.
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as libyan rebels suffer sharp new setbacks, the new reversals facing the opposition come hours after president obama faced the nation on libya. republicans leader continued hammers about the handling of the crisis. listen to this. >> some of my questions were answered by the president. others were not.
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the fact that the plan appears to be humanitarian to stop the slauger of innocent people in libya is certainly something i think most of the congress would support. but the second part of the plan is to hope gadhafi leaves. i just don't think that that is a strategy. and when you listen to all of what is going on and all the words, t really nothing more than hope. if gadhafi doesn't leave, how long will nee to be there to enforce a no-fly zone? it's a very troubling question. >> let's bring in our senior political analyst gloria borjer and david gurgennen. the president specifically said he doesn't just hope gadhafi leaves. he says he has a strategy for gadhafi to leave.
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as well as military means to do so. pressure from arab countries from around the world. so he does have a strategy. is it a realistic strategy? >> well, he also told nbc news tonight wolf that there's a ponlt he's not ruling out arming the rebels. not ruling it in. not ruling it out. they can't point to particular things they would do to guarantee gadhafi would leave. the president is on the record saying that gadhafi needs to go. he can't unring that bell. and there are a lot of uncertainties. what if flst there's a stalemate? what if gadhafi decide to wait it out. the rebels seem to be taking a couple steps backwards. this is uncertainty that we're not use to in the country.
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>> was the president successful in his speech to the nation last night? >> he was very successful in talking about the past and why the united states intervened, what his reasoning was. i haugt thought he made a compelling moral argument. a lot of republicans including john boehner just agreed with. where he was much less clear, and in the past, was pretty clear, the future he left murky. yes, he has a strategy. but it's not clear the strategy will work. healthcare is in europe. exploring every avenue she said short of bringing troops in there to bring gadhafi down. it looks as if we're moving toward the international community providing some kind of armed assistance to the rebels and trying to provide or trying to recognize them as a legitimate government. it will come down firmly on the
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side of the rebels. it's a big, big question tonight, wolf. >> it looks like to me as an outside observer, gloria. the u.s., the british, the french. they've already come down on the side of the rebels for all practical purposes. all the air power is designed to support the rebels. stop gadhafi's forces. send a message to gadhafi and his sons and others, it's over. give up. get out of there before you die. and isolate gadhafi and find a place for him to go. there's another question, wolf. which is we're not sure who the rebels are. what you saw in the secretary of state was somebody who was circumspect to a degree in trying to evaluate who the rebels are. whereas france may have embraced them. we have stopped short of that in terms of saying, look, we're trying to figure this out. it's a fluid situation. so obviously you don't want to
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arm people who may turn out to be not so good. i think the united states is standing back a little little until they understand who these people are. >> well, they did receive the opposition leader at this rally for libya. the summit miting that the secretary of state attended. france formally recognized it as the legitimate government of libya. the united states stopped short of that. for all practical purposes they're totally aligned with the opposition right now. and they're fighting gad fooe. >> there's no question we've come down firmly on the side of helping the opposition. we're clearly going to prevent them from being killed. it was striking as they tie tie tried to take the villages. we did not use air power.
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it was close in fighting. we did not use the arrest power. and the the rebels went into retreat. if that conflict will continue, will they change their minds? >> guys, we're going to leave it there. i suspect with nato starting tomorrow in full command of the whole operation, the operation will be a lot less robust than if an american commander, general ham, for example, karcar ham, were strictly in charge of how aggressive the coalition that will be. that's another subject. we'll continue to watch it tomorrow. reporters witnessed in person a libyan woman's desperation and frustration after she says gadhafi's men raped her. imagine how her mother felt. she spoke with reza sayah. drifting into the other lane. [ kim ] i was literally falling asleep at the wheel. it got my attention, telling me that i wasn't paying attention. i had no idea the guy in front of me had stopped short.
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♪ nationwide is on your side we're just getting in some new information on the case of that woman who burst into a tripoli hotel this weekend to tell foreign reporters she had been raped by gadhafi's government troops. she was dragged away, communication with her has since been cut off. now cnn's reza sayah tracked down the woman's family. and her mother described the awful experience to reza. >> like much of the world, she, too, saw the disturbing pictures on television on saturday.
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she's upset and worried. most of all she's angry. the comments that she is making a few weeks ago that were unthinkable in libya. she was openly condemning gadhafi. challenging him to come to her hometown. she told us if gadhafi was here i would slap him in the face. you get an idea how angry she is. about her daughter being promiscuous. leading a life that's questionable. not keeping with islam. her mother rejected the allegations. she described them as a desperate attempt to discredit her daughter. a lot of anger and concern from this mother. she knows she can't do much. all she can do is raise awareness. the last time she spoke to her
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she believed she was in some sort of compound belonging to the regime. that was sunday. since then officials say she believes she's free to do what she wants. this is a criminal case. her mother rejects that. she calls those lies. she says if indeed her daughter is here, where is she? allow her to speak to the media. is obviously not happening. >> he spoke to the woman's mother. the libyan government says a criminal case is under way the men accused of raping the women have filed counter charges for slander. >> a billion dollar lawsuit against walmart facing its first test at the highest court in the land. it's a passionate battle under way. or cadillac of their choice. push your onstar button and you could be one of them. even if you're not an onstar customer.
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[ chanting ] >> can 1.5 million people sue one company at the same time? that's the question before the u.s. supreme court, which must decide if a gender discrimination lawsuit against walmart can proceed. here's cnn's kate balduan. >> it started with six strangers in california. kris is one of them. >> i'm a fighter in nothing else, and so are all of the we're women involved. >> reporter: she has worked at sam's club, part of the walmart brand, for two decades. she says she's been paid less than her male counterparts and passed over for promotions for years. >> men who never had even a day's worth of sam's club experience were coming in and i
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was the one training them. >> reporter: so she and five other women who worked at walmart are suing the company in a high-stakes gender discrimination case. >> someone says, it's just one bad supervisor or a couple bad supervisors. is it worth taking the entire company on? >> it's just not one supervisor, though. it's supervisor after supervisor after supervisor. >> reporter: the lawsuit began here at this walmart in pittsburgh, california, a decade ago. now the original six women in this case could expand to every walmart employee past and present, some 1.5 million women, making this the largest job discrimination case in u.s. history. walmart is fighting back, arguing these allegations are isolated, that there's no so-called corporate culture or nationwide pattern of gender bias at their 4,300 facilities. >> i think walmart has a very strong policy against discrimination and in favor of
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diversity. and it works hard to instill that throughout the company. >> our company culture is about providing all associates opportunities to advance and grow. >> reporter: the supreme court, though, isn't weighing in on whether the women's discrimination claims are valid. rather, it's deciding the more technical, yet closely watched question, can they file as a class or do they have to fight walmart individually. >> it's just walmart's way of trying to stalemate us. they know we're right and they just -- they don't want to admit it. >> in oral arguments today, it did seem that the court was split along ideological lines, like they often are these days. justice ginsburg, one of the three women on the bench, summed up kind of the sympathy, the more liberal wing of the court seemed to feel for the women in this case. saying, "the company gets reports month after month showing that women are
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disproportionately passed over for promotion and there is a pay gap between men and women doing the same job. isn't there some responsibility on the company to say, is gender discrimination at work, and if it is, isn't there an obligation to stop it?" seems she was very receptive to the argument of the plaintiffs, wolf. >> what about the other side? >> while very passionate, it doesn't seem that ruth bader ginsburg's passionate words seemed to sway the conservative members on the beach, which have a shaky majority, like chief justice john roberts, who was skeptical that so many employees across the country could make the same clay in one lawsuit. a real sticking point there. and he said, "how many examples of abuse of the subjective discrimination delegation by managers, so to speak, need to be shown before you can say that flows from the policy rather than from bad actors?" he says, "i assume with however many thousands of stores, you're
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going to have some bad apples." so you see how the chief justice feels, and wolf, we'll have to wait until the end of june, probably, to get a ruling on this. >> very important case. >> very important. >> thanks for all the background. appreciate it. >> thanks, wolf. nato may own the skies over libya, but the land is still up for grabs. just ahead, the rebels' latest setback. and zookeepers in new york are in a hurry to find a snake on the loose. we ask, what's the best way to catch a cobra? ♪ stay inside? nah. not when you have a five-star overall vehicle score for safety. one more reason chevy traverse delivers more.
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what's the best way to catch a cobra? here's jeanne moos. >> reporter: everybody has a theory on how to catch a cobra. >> mice. >> reporter: like the egyptian cobra still on the loose apparently slithering around in the bronx zoo reptile house.
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>> put 50 baby mouses in a catch where the snake can crawl into the cage, but it can't crawl out. >> reporter: even steve martin tweeted, "i'm sitting in my king tut hat by the phone, awaiting their call for help." ♪ king tut, how'd you get so funky? ♪ >> reporter: but what's really if you thinky is how the missing cobra is being pictured. >> on the search for a poisonous egyptian cobra. >> reporter: note how big these cobras are, how scary. >> on the loose. >> reporter: in reality, the snake's only months old. she's 20 inches, thin as a pencil, and weighs less than 3 ounces. so is her bite as bad as a big snake's would be. reptile expert terry phillips says -- >> bigger snakes have bigger fangs and inject more venom. it's always better to be bitten by a baby snake than a big one. >> reporter: the venom is just
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as toxic, but there's less of it. even the bronx zoo has a photo of a larger snake on its website. she's even on twitter. snake on the town has gained a mass following with tweets like, dear charlie sheen, know what's better than tiger's blood? cobra venom. there's also a fake bronx zookeeper tweeting, oh, like you've never lost anything. bronx zoo excuses made letterman's top ten. >> cobra met a copperhead on >> reporter: the reptile expert says it's hard to convey how undramatic the cobra's escape is. >> if it was loose in my house with my children, i wouldn't give it a whole lot of worry. >> reporter: you're kidding? >> no. i certainly would look for it, but i wouldn't go check into a hotel. >> reporter: check out how comedians on shows like jimmy
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